Cheveyo’s Story

It has been a very long time since I’ve blogged about anything, so it’s about time I started again.

Quite a few year ago I started working with a mother/daughter team and their buckskin they had just purchased. His name is Cheveyo which means “spirit warrior”. He was proving to be less than the perfect horse he was touted to be at the point of purchase. I know it’s hard to believe that someone would stretch the truth about the history and demeanor of a horse for sale.

When I started with him he was very difficult to lunge. He would kick out at me and rush in like an angry bull. He was difficult to lead in hand as he hated the boundary of the contact, and picking up his feet was just not an option he would allow. Needless to say these new horse owners were a bit over their head with this horse.

After several months of work (once per week) we were making little progress. One day at the facility he was being boarded at, it was time to trim his feet. I was asked to come and help with this process as he and I had developed some report and a level of trust. When the farrier walked into the barn carrying her chaps, Cheveyo completely lost his mind! To this day I have never seen such a visceral reaction to the presence of a farrier with a pair of chaps. He circled violently in his stall snorting, throwing his head and sweating. It was clear at that point that no trimming was going to happen.

After the drama subsided, I went into the stall to calm him and have a discussion about emotional outbursts and feet and farriers in general … he didn’t want to talk. The photo shows me in the stall with the chaps in my hand. He did very well with that process but that’s where we ended that session. The owner of the facility then said that she would show him who’s boss here and about lifting his feet. I got a call from my client a few days later explaining that the facility owner got kicked quite badly and he was no longer welcome there. Our only option on short notice was to bring home to our place and into the trailer he went, without much issue, oddly enough.

It became apparent that the mother/daughter team was not going to be a good match here so like any good trainer, with issues, I bought him. It was a six month process to get him to lift his feet to be cleaned but the presence of a file or nippers still sent him into a rage. I have owned Cheveyo for six or seven years now (I honestly don’t remember) and to this day he still has issues with any kind of farrier work. I can pick his feet up and file the hooves for about 10-15 seconds before he puts it down and usually two of those processes is all he will tolerate. The only thing I can discern from his behavior is that somewhere in his history, he was beat up badly by a farrier, but we will never really know.

We still need to sedate him for my farrier to do a full trim on all four feet but he only sees him once per year. I do all the filing to maintain his feet in between. He used to break through the sedation because of his adrenaline surge but his last trim a couple weeks ago went perfectly with only one hit of happy juice.  I was very proud of him.

He is a sweet guy who loves attention. He still has a bit of an attitude when you push an issue but has never kicked or even threatened since he came to our farm. I like to call him “charmingly belligerent”, but we love him and he is a wonderful part of our family.

I thought it would be helpful to share his story as many horses like him end up in kill pens because people tend not to put the time into helping these types of horses through their trauma and emotional struggles. Not every story is a success story, but Cheveyo’s story is another testament to the resilience of this horse and horses in general.  They never cease to amaze me.

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